Silver Spring Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Charges Related to a Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
Defendants Allegedly Knew the Drugs They Sold Were Causing Overdoses
Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging 22 defendants with participating in a drug conspiracy that allegedly distributed heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine in Maryland and surrounding states, resulting in multiple overdoses, including five overdose deaths. According to the superseding indictment, the defendants possessed firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking and purchased guns from customers in exchange for drugs. The superseding indictment was returned late on April 10, 2019, and unsealed yesterday.
The superseding indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Acting Chief Russell E. Hamill, III of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
“A supply chain that distributed opioids--including deadly fentanyl—throughout Maryland and in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, has been dismantled, and those charged with trafficking these poisons are now in federal custody,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Drugs—especially opioids—are killing thousands of Marylanders a year. Federal, state, and local law enforcement are working together to reduce overdose deaths from fentanyl and from all opioids. Drug traffickers are on notice that dealing in fentanyl increases their odds of federal prosecution and federal time.”
"The FBI worked side-by-side with the Montgomery County and Rockville City Police Department and other federal, state and local partners to ensure we stopped these individuals from further distributing heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and crack cocaine in the region," said FBI Baltimore Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore. "These dangerous drugs have a devastating effect on our communities and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to make Maryland a safer place."
According to the 23-count indictment, from 2016 to April 3, 2019, the defendants were members and associates of the Butler Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) and distributed heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The indictment alleges that the members of the conspiracy conducted sales on a daily basis, operating in rotating shifts to ensure continuous availability. Members of the conspiracy allegedly used residences in and around Baltimore to process, cut, repackage, and prepare heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base for distribution, and rotated the residences to minimize detection by law enforcement. The indictment alleges that in order to maximize their profits, the conspirators cut the heroin and crack cocaine with other substances, such as fentanyl and diphenhydramine (often found in sleeping pills).
As detailed in the superseding indictment, the defendants were aware that the drugs they distributed were causing overdoses. According to the superseding indictment, at least five overdose deaths are attributed to the distribution of drugs by members of the conspiracy, including the father of one of the conspirators.
According to the superseding indictment, members of the conspiracy possessed firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities, sometimes purchasing firearms from drug customers and paying the customers with drugs in exchange for the firearms. In addition, the conspirators allegedly took steps to avoid detection by law enforcement, including: conducting counter-surveillance; rotating the use of vehicles and residences used to store narcotics; changing locations in Baltimore to conduct drug transactions; frequently changing cell phones; and using encrypted phone applications to prevent interception of drug-trafficking communications by law enforcement.
The following defendants are charged in the superseding indictment unsealed today:
Michael Bailey, age 30, of Winchester, Maryland;
Donte Bennett, a/k/a Tay, age 27, of Baltimore, Maryland;
Darlene Best, age 56, of Baltimore;
Gregory Butler, a/k/a Sags and Little Dick, age 28, of Baltimore;
Juawan Davis, a/k/a Fat Daddy, age 24, of Baltimore;
Timothy Downing, age 35, of Mount Airy, Maryland;
Edward Buddy Hall, a/k/a Gwar, age 54, of Baltimore;
Syed Hussain, age 25, of Virginia;
Ryan Johnson, age 26, of Montgomery County, Maryland;
Cindy Legard, age 31, of Bunker Hill, West Virginia;
Kareem Mack, a/k/a K Mack, age 29, of Baltimore;
Terrance Medley, a/k/a Mazzi, age 35, of Baltimore;
Russell Oliver, age 43, of Bunker Hill, West Virginia;
Davon Owens, a/k/a Gusto, age 31, of Baltimore;
Desmond Ringgold, a/k/a Worm and Fool, age 28, of Baltimore;
James Henry Roberts, a/k/a Bub, age 29, of Baltimore;
Tirrel Saunders, a/k/a Pretty, age 32, of Baltimore;
Gary Smith, age 20, of Virginia;
Ann Waugh-Hixon, age 48, of Berkeley County;
Laura Warner, age 36, of Berkeley County;
Emanuel Watkins, age 62, of Baltimore; and
John Wolfrey, age 39, of Berkeley County, West Virginia.
Ten defendants face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, ten defendants face a maximum of life in prison, and two defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison on the drug conspiracy charge. Legard, Hussain, Smith, Mack, Davis, Wolfrey, Bailey, Johnson, Warner, Waugh-Hixon, Owens, and Roberts also face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for possessing with intent to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, or fentanyl. Davis, Owens, Hall, Butler, Roberts, and Medley also face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, and a maximum sentence of life in prison for possession of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Finally, Owens, Hall, Butler, Roberts, and Medley face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person.
Twenty-one defendants have been arrested. Eighteen of those defendants are detained, and two defendants have been released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services. Emanuel Watkins is still being sought.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI, the DEA, the Montgomery County and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the City of Rockville Police Department; the Baltimore County, Howard County, and Montgomery County Police Departments; the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office; the Maryland State Police; the West Virginia State Police; the Virginia State Police; the Warren County (VA) Sheriff’s Department; the Winchester (VA) and Front Royal (VA) Police Departments; and the Frederick County and Howard County State’s Attorney’s Offices. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew DellaBetta and Michael Goldsticker, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.
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